ESA'S ATV-3 Enroute to International Space Station

ESA'S ATV-3 Enroute to International Space Station

The European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched its third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-3) to the International Space Station (ISS) very early this morning.

The Ariane 5 launch from ESA’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America), took place at 04:34 Greenwich Mean Time, or 00:34 Eastern Daylight Time.   Beautiful video of the launch as the Ariane 5 passes in and out of clouds is available on ESA’s website.

The ATV-3 spacecraft is named after Edorado Arnaldi, an Italian physicist who was one of the founding fathers of European space research.  It is carrying 20 tonnes of supplies to the iSS.  Docking is scheduled for March 28.

This is the third of five ATV flights currently planned by ESA to fulfill part of its financial obligations to the United States as one of the iSS partners.  Nine ATVs originally were planned.  The ATVs are not designed to survive reentry.  Once they detach from the ISS they burn up in the atmosphere.

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